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Wetlands

Frequent Questions about the Enhancing State and Tribal Program Initiative

  1. Does the Enhancing State and Tribal Program (ESTP) initiative provide additional funds to states and tribes?
  2. How does this initiative impact support for previous EPA's wetland program priorities?
  3. Why does the ESTP focus on smaller, less developed state and tribal wetland programs?
  4. How will the core elements framework enhance technical assistance?
  5. When and how will the core elements framework be used in grant decisions?
  6. How can state and tribes do all the activities listed in the core elements framework with no additional funding?
  7. Did EPA receive state and tribal input on the ESTP and core elements framework?
  8. Who at EPA can help me with the ESTP and how to make the best use of the core elements framework?

1. Does the ESTP initiative provide additional funds to states and tribes?

Much of the ESTP effort is focused on using the resources we have more strategically. We know that many state and tribal wetland programs today are not able to meet all of their program goals because of insufficient or inconsistent funding. EPA will develop and support additional state and tribal peer-to-peer information networks as well as targeting EPA resources to specific training and technical support for program building activities under the core elements framework.

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2. How does this initiative impact support for previous EPA wetland program priorities?

For example, in the past, EPA has focused on building state and tribal wetland monitoring and assessment programs. Will this priority continue to be supported?

We will continue to support states' and tribes' work in any of the core elements, including providing on-going support for monitoring and assessment. Core elements will receive equal consideration, so in general, we won't select certain core elements for emphasis. However monitoring and assessment is the foundation for much of the other work in program development. We anticipate many states and tribes will begin or continue to work in this area.

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3. Why does the ESTP focus on smaller, less developed state and tribal wetland programs?

ESTP support is available to all states and tribes. However, it is designed with the needs of smaller wetland programs in mind. We are focusing on those states and tribes actively working to further build small programs because small-FTE programs are most dependent on EPA funding and technical assistance for program results thus we believe greatest improvement with EPA resources can be made here.
See a copy of the evaluation.

We will continue to assist developed program as well. The core elements framework includes objectives and associated program building activities that can be used to refine more fully developed programs.

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4. How will the core elements framework enhance technical assistance?

The core elements framework clearly defines the core elements and outlines a menu of program activities under each element. By defining ways to move forward in program development and aligning EPA's technical assistance, including targeted trainings and outreach, we can provide more relevant support to willing states/tribes. The core elements framework helps EPA to track specific program building actions that states and tribes are working on, and can help EPA tailor assistance to areas where a significant number of states and tribes are working.

EPA also aligns the Wetlands Program Development Grants with the core elements framework to put more emphasize on program development.

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5. When and how will the core elements framework be used in grant decisions?

The Wetland Program Development Grants are EPA's primary source of financial support for state and tribal programs. A 2007 evaluation of the grants program indicated that most grant funds have gone to program development though there have been some exceptions. EPA uses the core elements framework to guide program development and asks grantees to reference the core elements framework in their proposed grant activities.

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6. How can state and tribes do all the activities listed in the core elements framework with no additional funding?

EPA doesn't expect states and tribes to undertake all the activities. Much of the ESTP effort is focused on using EPA and state and tribal resources for wetland work more strategically. The core elements framework is very broad and states and tribes will find that it is a comprehensive set of program building activities. It is to be viewed as a menu of activities - there is not the expectation that a state or tribe will commit to all of the core elements or all of the activities under one core element. The state or tribe will pick activities that are best suited to help them meet their program goals.

EPA has set aside a limited amount of non-grant funds to support technical assistance activities related to ESTP, such as support for regional/state meetings or training on the technical components of the ESTP.  In addition, EPA will develop and support additional state and tribal peer-to-peer information sharing networks as well as targeting EPA resources to specific training and technical support to program building activities under the core elements framework. Consideration will also be given to providing more sustained (2-4 years) grant funding when possible.

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7. Did EPA receive state and tribal input on the ESTP and core elements framework?

Yes. EPA convened a short-term work group of states and tribes and ASWM to help review and provide comments on the ESTP and CEF. This focus group consisted of 3 tribes and 12 state representatives. EPA worked closely with this group in 2008-2009.

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8. Who at EPA can help me with the ESTP and provide help on how to make the best use of the Core Elements Framework?

Rebecca Dils (dils.rebecca@epa.gov)
EPA Wetland State and Local Liaison
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds
Wetlands Division
Wetlands Strategies and State Programs Branch

Phone: 202-566-1378

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